100th Anniversary of the Baffin Bay hurricane

Damage done in Corpus Christi by Baffin Bay hurricane in 1916 (credit National Weather Service)
Damage done in Corpus Christi by Baffin Bay hurricane in 1916
(credit National Weather Service)

On August 18, 1916, a major hurricane struck Baffin Bay, Texas.  It was the strongest storm to hit southern Texas since the Indianola hurricane thirty years prior.  The storm had also brought destruction to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

The storm was first detected by ships east of Barbados on Aug. 12th.  It passed over that island in the evening bringing gusty winds and rain.  It tracked west-northwest and gained hurricane strength while south of the island of Hispañola. It passed over Jamaica and the Cayman Islands as a minimal hurricane, but managed to do heavy damage to the banana crop.

As the storm moved between Cuba and the Yucatan it strengthened to a major hurricane and tracked across the Gulf of Mexico with winds in excess of 130 mph (205 km/hr).  By the time it struck southern Texas a day and a half later, its maximum sustained winds were at 135 mph (215 km/hr).  Damage was done from northern Mexico to Corpus Christi, TX, to the sum of US$1.6 million, and a total of 24 deaths were caused over the life of the hurricane.